So you’ve invested in an Intra-Oral Scanner, now what… Top 10 tips to consider when choosing a Digital Dental Laboratory

6 November 2018 Categories: digital lab

Originally posted – 9 October 2018

1. Can the lab accept files from your specific intra-oral scanner?
Not all I/O Scanners put out raw files; Stereo Lithographic files (STLs.) Many systems are coded so are to be accessible by their own design software. It is best to choose a digital laboratory that invests in a wide variety of CAD (digital design systems) to ensure they are able to accept files from all intra-oral scanners.

2. What is the lab’s experience with digital technology?
Does the laboratory have recognised experience of using digital technology and are they able to advise you on the advantages and disadvantages of the different techniques available? Laboratories that were early adopters of Digital Dentistry have experienced the many challenges early technology threw at them and through learning, perseverance and working closely with dentists and dental companies they have been able to advance the technology collaboratively.

3. How easy is it to communicate with the lab?
Are you able to not only pick up the phone and email your chosen lab, but be able to communicate with them in new and innovative ways to deliver the best results for your patients? Leading labs are now receiving video and FaceTime calls from dentists and patients so they are now able to fully see the smile of patients whilst they talk, laugh and be natural. Video can be frozen and assessed so their smile can be seen from a different perspective.

4. Can the lab help you in the selection of the right materials?
Dentists keep up-to-date with dentistry. Lab technicians keep up-to-date with dental materials and technology. If, as a dentist you are open to being educated, your lab should be able to advise you of the best materials to use for your restorative work. Because lab’s work on so many different cases, this knowledge can easily be passed on to willing dentists.

5. How involved is the lab in education?
Lab technicians who attend courses to maintain their learning or even educate others through lectures, workshops and seminars are likely to be able to deliver the best restorations and advice to their dentists. With a shortage of technicians due to more leaving the industry than entering, it is very much down to the laboratories to select courses and educate the technicians to best serve the business.

6. Is the experience of the staff wide and varied?
Despite the introduction of digital technology and automated systems, nature is still difficult thing to reproduce which, consequently means a dental laboratory still needs to ensure the skills of its staff are not lost. Teeth still need to look natural, so the artistry required by highly skilled ceramists to deliver a single tooth restoration to a complex smile makeover for example, still needs to be there.

7. Can the lab fulfil all of the needs of your patients?
Not all labs are set up to deliver every treatment provided by the dental practice. For instance, is your lab known to deliver implant supported restorations, high-end aesthetics, smile makeovers as well as traditional crown and bridge work? As you grow and develop your practice, you want one lab that can support you through this journey.

8. How do they keep up-to-date with the latest technology?
A lab’s experience and close working relationship with dental companies, means they are able to keep abreast of the latest technologies and enable them to become ‘Experts’ in helping dentist make the right investment for their practice.

9. How forward thinking are they?
There are many forums and social media platforms that dentists use to seek advice from dental technicians. Is your technician active across these platforms providing advice and industry knowledge to dental professionals?

And last but not least….

10. Has the lab ever been recognised for any of their work?
Every year dental laboratories and dental technicians are recognised for the work they have delivered with a variety of industry awards. These are given to dentists, technicians & laboratories for the expertise they demonstrated when working closely together with the patient to deliver outstanding aesthetics from single tooth restorations all the way through to highly complex cases.

For more information about how Ambridge Ceramics can help support you in delivering high quality aesthetic restorations and smile makeovers, please contact our team on: 01765 607347 or email: info@ambridgeceramics.com.